Opposition Report – Fleetwood

Fleetwood will be looking to home comforts in a bid to bounce back from a midweek defeat against Northampton. Joey Barton’s side haven’t lost at home since late September and, despite a much poorer record away from home, they sit 9th in the League One table. A win at Highbury on Saturday could see them move into the play off places.

I spoke to Fleetwood media intern Dom Pendleton to get an idea of Fleetwood going into the game.

How has the season gone so far?

The season so far has been pretty inconsistent as we have beaten teams 4-1 and 5-1 but we’ve let ourselves down against lower opposition mainly away losing by a 1 goal difference.

What are the expectations for Fleetwood’s season?

My expectations are to be in the play-offs come the end of the season and I think that’s the expectations of everyone in and around the club. We’ve got a real nice mix of experienced players and youth who are all on the same wavelength with the same mentality.

Who are the men to watch out for?

The men to watch are Callum Camps and Callum Connolly. Camps is in superb form with 10 goals already from midfield and his confidence is sky high at the minute with every right to be, he shoots from distance and every shot of his looks to fly into the top corner. The second one to watch is Callum Connolly, Connolly is on loan from Everton to us for the second successive season and he’s an absolute scouse warrior in defence, he’s not afraid to come up against anyone and everytime I’ve seen him come up against someone twice the size of him, Connolly wins the duels.

What are your expectations for this game?

My expectations for the game is that it’ll be a very cagey affair despite the fact both sides have very different squads to the last meeting where five of our starting 11 last season aren’t at Fleetwood anymore. I’m expecting Blackpool to allow Fleetwood the bulk of possession and will sit back and to try and hit us on the counter attack with the pace of Hamilton and Kaikai. I’m hoping we will come out like we did against Hull and Plymouth and put a few comfortable goals away early on but I don’t want to jinx it.

Statistical Analysis

Last Five games

That inconsistency Dom mentioned is clear to see, but most of this comes away from Highbury. As you can see Fleetwood can have games where they create a lot of chances and others where they are quite impotent. We are going to have to approach this game with the Fleetwood that put five past Plymouth in mind. Basically, when Callum Camps has a good game, so do Joey Barton’s side.

Across the season Fleetwood have conceded an average of 0.63 goals per game, whereas we average 1.43 so it is important that the defensive frailties that we have addressed in recent weeks, continue to disappear. We have average a goal a game whereas they average 1.88 so in terms of real output, they are a much bigger threat than us and have the capability to take chances efficiently, outperforming expected goals.

Having said that in terms of real output, expected goals are on the contrary. Fleetwood have an xG of of 1.35 which is lower than our 1.47 so it’s clear we have been increasingly underperforming in terms of actual output compared to them. In terms of expected goals against Fleetwood sit at 1.18xG and Blackpool 1 so again when it comes to actual underlying performances, the Seasiders have been the better side.

The most important thing I noted was that Fleetwood’s xG is a lot higher at home than away, whilst ours is better away than at home. They average 1.5xG at home which is one of the highest in the league and it is clear they perform much better at home. Offsetting that is that our xG away from home is even higher than Fleetwood’s home form at 1.58. Remarkably despite Blackpool having a much higher xG away from home compared to at Bloomfield Road, they have only won 27% of away games compared to 57% at home. Let’s hope that changes tomorrow.

Final thoughts

If peak Fleetwood turn up we are going to have a game on our hands. Likewise if peak Blackpool turn up Fleetwood will have a game on their hands. I would argue we are in the better form but Joey Barton’s side at Highbury are a different side to away. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see goals galore here. But if Blackpool are able to put in the type of organisation we saw against Portsmouth and stem the likes of Callum Camps then we should have no issues picking up a real statement victory.

Stats from: xG Data & Footy Stats

Image: BBC

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